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Nursing - Graduate Programs

Finding Quantitative Studies

How to find quantitative studies in CINAHL:

First, limit your results to scholarly or peer reviewed.


Add the word quantitative to your search as a keyword.  CINHAL does have subject headings for both Quantitative Studies and Qualitative Studies, but their use is somewhat inconsistent, so that not all articles that would normally qualify for these subject headings are tagged this way.

If you have a particular research methodology in mind, you can include keywords to describe it in your search.  Try using various keywords such as Chi Square Test, Analysis of Variance, Data Analysis, multi-variate, regression, chi-square, p-value.

Publication Types:

Use various Publication Types that are quantitative, such as Meta-analysis, Clinical Trial, Tables & Charts, Statistics, Equations and Formulas, etc.

Tag/Subject (formerly Subject/Thesaurus term)

When you have a fairly large group of results, further refine the results by using the Tag/Subject limiter on the left side of the page.  Here you can select from terms like Quantitative Studies, Sampling (statistics), Correlation (statistics), etc., if they appear in the list.

When you have some results, read the abstracts to determine the study type.

For more information on reading quantitative research studies, see the following article, located in CINAHL.

Coughlan, M., Cronin, P., & Ryan, F. (2007). Step-by-step guide to critiquing research. Part 1: quantitative research. British Journal of Nursing, 16 (11), 658-663.

Finding Qualitative Studies

How to find qualitative studies in CINAHL:

  • Use the MeSH heading Qualitative Studies in your search query.
  • Use these qualitative Publication Types
    • Anecdote
    • Interview
    • Metasynthesis 
  • Also, if appropriate to your search, try using the following keywords:
    • focus group, narratives, descriptive research, audio, video, diaries, interview, observational methods, vignettes, ethnography, ethnology, ethnographic, phenomenology, life experiences, grounded theory, attitudes, qualitative study
    • Note: some of these keywords could apply to quantitative studies as well. Example: interview.